UPDATED: Jack Cust designated for assignment

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cust posing in dugout.jpgUPDATE: Cust told Slusser on Sunday that he thinks the A’s made a bad move by giving up on him.  It sure sounds like he would rather move on to another club:

“I think it’s messed up,” Cust said. “They’re going to go on 50 at-bats
after three years of what I’ve done here? It’s ridiculous. A lot of
other guys have had bad springs. This is a joke. … The fact is, this team has no power and they’ve just released a guy
who (averaged 28 homers) the last three years. That’s amazing.”

Cust went 11-for-51 this spring (.216) with one home run and three RBI.

8:20pm: Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle has been all over the A’s news beat this afternoon and passes along this interesting tweet:

Cust to be designated. That’s what I’m hearing but
it’s not official by any means.

Slusser, of course, is talking about Jack Cust, the man who hit .240/.356/.417 last season with 25 home runs and 70 RBI and was re-signed to a $2.65 million contract this winter.  He lacks versatility and all, but it sure seems like the guy would be useful as a DH or late-innings pinch-hitter for Oakland this season.  If he is cast off, you can bet that a few teams will be phoning Athletics general manager Billy Beane.

Report: Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on Sonny Gray

OAKLAND, CA - AUGUST 06: Sonny Gray #54 of the Oakland Athletics pitches against the Chicago Cubs during the first inning at the Oakland Coliseum on August 6, 2016 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
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The Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on starting pitcher Sonny Gray, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. The Astros have added Charlie Morton this offseason, but the club has been trying to add a big-name starting pitcher to put at the top of the rotation behind Dallas Keuchel.

Gray, 27, was limited to 22 starts in the 2016 season due to a forearm issue. His stats left a lot to be desired, as he finished with a 5-11 record, a 5.69 ERA, and a 94/42 K/BB ratio over 117 innings. Considering how Gray pitched in the previous three years, he’s a good bet to bounce back.

Gray is under team control through 2019, which is a big draw for the Astros. Needless to say, the Athletics would want a haul in terms of prospects. Gray will earn $3.575 million in 2017, having avoided arbitration in his first year of eligibility.

President Obama Welcomes the Cubs to the White House

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As we noted last week, The Chicago Cubs took the unusual step of not waiting until the summer after winning the World Series to make their customary White House visit to meet the president. They did it today, seeing President Obama a few short days before he leaves office.

Despite the fact that Obama is a White Sox fan, he met the Cubs with diplomacy and grace. It’s almost as if he’s been in that business for the past eight years. In return, he was given some gifts by the Cubs: Theo Epstein presented Obama with a No. 44 Cubs jersey, a tile from the center field scoreboard at Wrigley Field, and a lifetime pass to Wrigley as well.

Obama is staying in D.C. after he leaves office this week, hanging around so his daughter can finish high school in the same place she started. Even so, he’s likely going to be back to Chicago a good bit over the rest of his life, so he’ll likely be able to put the free pass to work. Assuming it comes with, like, six companion passes for his Secret Service detail.